Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Bruno Walter, Mariano Stabile , Aulikki Rautawaara , Esther Rhéthy , Jarmila Novotná , William Wernigk , Virgilio Lazzari , Angelica Cravcenco , Viktor Madin , Dora Komraek , Giuseppe Nessi Ezio Pinza , Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra|
Mozart: "Le Nozze di Figaro" / 1937 Salzburg Festival / Pinza, Rhéthy, Stabile, Novotná, Vienna Phil., Walter
This three-CD set presents the first release of this highly sought-after version of Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro. Recorded live at the 1937 Salzburg Festival, the set features conductor Bruno Walter and an acclaimed cast th... more »
Listen to Samples
This three-CD set presents the first release of this highly sought-after version of Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro. Recorded live at the 1937 Salzburg Festival, the set features conductor Bruno Walter and an acclaimed cast that includes Ezio Pinza as Figaro and Esther Réthy as Susanna. The recording has been painstakingly restored and digitally remastered by Ward Marston from the original source on Selenophone (an early system for documenting broadcasts on disc). Replete with a wealth of long-unseen photos, the elaborate 384-page booklet features a scene-setting introduction by Pulitzer Prize-winner Tim Page and extensive essays by Gottfried Kraus ("Salzburg, Summer 1937," including notes on the Selenophone) and Erik Ryding ("Shadow and Light: Bruno Walter and the Salzburg Figaro"). Also included are detailed biographies of the artists from The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, as well as a synopsis of the opera and Lorenzo Da Ponte's full li! bretto in Italian, French, German and English.
Perhaps, not for the casual listener...
Erik T. Heidt | 09/25/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
This recording of Mozart's Marriage of Figaro has strengths and weaknesses. The recoding is accompanied by the complete libretto, artist profiles, essays, and rich historical information. But be aware that the recording technology in 1937 was somewhat limited, and listeners who are accustom to more modern recording technology may be distracted by these limits. The performance itself, is of course, outstanding.
My 3 star rating here reflects the limits of the 1937 recording technology vs a more modern version, everything except this limitation is excellent.
De Luxe Historical Package
scshu | 07/08/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This legendary 1937 Salzburg production of Mozart's evergreen opera buffa has been available on a variety of pirate labels in execrable sound. For this official issue on Andante, the combined efforts of renowned transfer enginners Seth Winner and Ward Marston painstakingly restored the recording from the original Selenephon film. The sound is definitely not state-of-the-art, but it captures vividly a special event with lively exchanges on the stage and between the stage and the orchestral pit.
Bruno Walter is the mastermind of the performance and anyone who long considers him to be a genial and mellow Mozart conductor [an impression largely inculcated by his late Columbia recordings] will be in for a surprise. Walter gives a highly tense and edge-of-your-seat traversal of the score, adopting fast, sometimes relentlessly racing tempi. Overall his treatment of the entire score is undoubtedly searingly dramatic, but it also robs the score of some gaiety and humour.
The real gems of the set are the two male leads, Figaro and Count Almaviva, sung respectively in the most idiomatic way possible by two stunning vocal actors of the Italian stage during the inter-war and war years, Ezio Pinza and Mariano Stabile. Pinza's Figaro is perhaps THE greatest of the lot. Possessing a lush basso of velvety warmth, he marries verbal acuity with vocal beauty and creates a lively, rumbustious character. The highlight of his performance is an absolutely marvelous rendition of Figaro's Act IV scena bewailing feminine wiles in which Figaro's hurt, anger and sarcasm were all startlingly realised. Mariano Stabile, the most famous Falstaff of his day, presents a dominant, menancing and libido-driven Count. He is a wooing seducer in his exchanges with Susanna and a frustrated,furious lord of the castle in his Act III scena. More dramatic and vivid interpretations of these roles are hard to imagine.
The female principals are equally well-cast, with the Hungarian soprano Esther Rethy taking the lead as a lovely and characterful Susanna, and Czech Soprano Jarmila Novotna's charming and impetuous Cherubino. Besides them, Finnish soprano Aulikki Rautawaara sounds rather pallid as the Countess, but she does fit well into the ensemble.
The de luxe package, complete with synopsis, the entire libretto with translations, artists biographies, an essay on the opera and two specially commissioned essays on the historical significance of the production, costs considerably, but anyone interested in historical performances should not let pass the opportunity to hear an important document, thoughtfully and carefully restored and packaged."
Pinza and walter: what a marriage
Nicholas Isherwood | berlin | 01/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"René Jacobs and the early music experts benefit from scholarship concerning cadenzas and instrumentation. Virtually ALL of the other recordings have infinitely better sound. Nonetheless, this is the definitive recording of "Le Nozze di Figaro."
Why? Walter auditioned and hand picked all of his soloists. Can you imagine Pavarotti agreeing to do an audition? Everyone is either Italian or speaks impeccable Italian. The recitatives are at speech rhythm and constitute vital and exciting theater, rather than a dreary attempt by vain singers to show how beautiful their voices are in the wrong context. The overall architecture is brilliant. Walter builds the opera like a perfectly proportioned chateau. Finally, there is the presence of Ezio Pinza, a remarkable singing actor with a gorgeous voice and the required charm for this role.
The sad news is that 70 years after this recording, noone has equaled it. The good news is that recent Mozart performances by Claudio Abbado and Daniel Harding have brought back Walter's thrilling recits and vibrant tempos.
We are lucky to have recordings like this. A true "desert island disc."